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Heat Illness and Proper Hydration

Due to the summer heat and humidity, it is important to make an extra effort to stay properly hydrated. Dehydration is a major factor in heat related injuries. To head off heat related injuries, especially for children attending summer camps, we suggest the following:

  • Meet early in the day, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Take group water breaks every 10-20 minutes.
  • Allow individuals to hydrate whenever they need throughout the session, perhaps by carrying water bottles with them.
  • Provide water for refillable water bottles.
  • Use shaded areas for breaks/workouts whenever possible.
  • Monitor athletes for any signs of heat related problems.

It is very important to stay hydrated and you can learn about proper hydration using these guidelines:

  • Fluid intake recommendations from NATA (National Athletic Trainer’s Association)
  • Seventeen to 20 ounces of water or sports drink two to three hours prior to exercise
  • Seven to 10 ounces 10 – 20 minutes prior to exercise
  • Seven to 10 ounces every 10 – 20 minutes during exercise
  • Eight ounces after exercise

If you plan to exercise for over an hour in hot, humid conditions, sports drinks provide not only fluid, but carbohydrates and sodium.  A sports drink is preferable, especially if you sweat excessively.

Adequate hydration the day before and prior to the morning session is as important as hydration during and after each session. One simple way to know if you are slightly dehydrated is to check your urine color.  It should be pale yellow to translucent.  If it is darkened at all, you need more fluids. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are and the more you need to replenish your fluids before exercising!